SINGAPORE, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) announced on Wednesday that the country's purchasing managers' index (PMI), an early indicator of manufacturing activity, grew from 50.4 in February to 50.8 in March, the Business Times reported.
It marks the 31st month of consecutive expansion of Singapore's manufacturing sector and reversed the downward trend seen in the previous six months. A PMI reading of 50 and above indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Meanwhile, the PMI of Singapore's electronics industry rose from 49.5 to 49.8, a contraction for the fifth straight month.
Singapore's manufacturing PMI rebounded in March mainly due to faster growth recorded in new orders, new exports, factory output, inventory, and employment level, according to the SIPMM which compiles the index. For the electronics PMI, the SIPMM attributes the modest improvement to more new orders, new exports, factory output and imports.
Selena Ling, head of Treasury Research and Strategy of OCBC Bank, said that barring further signs of pickup in both business and consumer confidence, it is still difficult to see Singapore's manufacturing or electronics industry emerging as the key growth driver for the city-state's economy in the first half of 2019.
She said the OCBC Bank saw Singapore's Gross Domestic Product growth the first quarter of 2019 at a relatively lacklustre 1.8 percent year on year amid a tepid manufacturing performance.